Feb 3, 2013 11:00am PST
of defense. earlier this weekend, i sat down for a rare joint interview with the top military leadership the outgoing secretary f defense leon panetta and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff general martin dempsey. >>> secretary panetta, welcome back to "meet the press." general dempsey, welcome. let me start with the man that is poised to take your place. he underwent on thursday a pretty tough round of questioning. he seemed to struggle with a lot of the answers. of course this is chuck hagel, the former republican senator from nebraska. look at some of his answers. >> i should have used another term, and i'm sorry. i would like to go back and change the words and the meaning. the bigger point is, what i was saying, i think -- what i meant to say, should have said, is recognizable. it's been recognized, is recognized. well, i said it. and i don't remember the context or when i said it. well, i said what i said. i said many, many things over many years. that's what i should have said. and thank you. >> secretary panetta, many of those answers did not satisfy a lot of republicans.
Feb 3, 2013 8:00am PST
a secretary of defense is confronting today. what about the war in afghanistan? what about the war on terrorism? what about the budgety is quester and what impact it will have on readiness? what about middle east turmoil? what about cyber attacks? all of the issues that confront a secretary of defense, frankly, those were -- we just did not see enough time spent on discussing those issues. and in the end, that's what counts. >> you're fully confident chuck hagel is prepared to take your place? >> absolutely. >> general dempsey, we did a word count. something like 37 mentions of afghanistan in an eight-hour hearing. more than 130 mentions of israel. do you think that the questioning was not directed in the right place? >> well, i was somewhat surprised at the things that weren't discussed in depth. but i'm always concerned when afghanistan isn't prominent in any conversation we're having as americans because we have 68,000 young men and women serving there. >> are you confident of chuck hagel? have you spent time with him? you guys have to have a partnership. secretary of defense, c
Feb 4, 2013 3:00am PST
time with him? you guys have to have a partnership. secretary of defense, chairman of the joint chiefs of staffs, whether you like each other or are not, are you confident you can have a good relationship with him? >> i have spent time with senator hagel, including when he was teaching over at georgetown, on strategic issues. and in helping prepare him for this confirmation hearings, we had several opportunities to talk about strategy. and i found him well prepared and very thoughtful about it. >> were his answers to you better than the answers you saw there? >> i'm not going to grade his homework. but in my conversations, he was well prepared, articulate, concise. >> and you're confident he can do the job? >> i'm not going to speak about confidence. he could be my boss. when is the last time you saw a subordinate discuss the confidence in his boss? my personal contacts with him have been very positive. if he's confirmed, i look forward to working with him. >> senator lindsey graham said he is going to hold up chuck hagel's nomination until you go on capitol hill and testify in a bengh
Feb 4, 2013 3:30am EST
this nightmare you're back in college, you've been nominated to be the defense secretary, you haven't done any studying all term, and the confirmation hearing is in five minutes? it looked like that. unprepared. even to defend himself. look strong. he's being attacked for his integrity, honesty. hit back. demand some time. defend yourself. you've got to do that because you have to have the confidence of the president to get the job and the confidence of the generals in the building. this is a problem. if i were chuck hagel, i'd go to the president right now and say, do you still have confidence in me? do you think i can do the job? >> you would offer to withdraw? >> you have to if you think you won't be effective because of what's happened.çó i think you have to ask privately that question. >> ana, a lot of the conversation that the white house is trying to say, this was all politics. let me play a clip of your old boss questioning chuck hagel. >> were you correct or incorrect when you said that the surge would be the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since vietnam? were